» 11/30/2009, 00.00
ISLAM – SWITZERLAND
Swiss ban on minarets condemned in the Muslim world, but many voices call for moderation
Vote result is seen as an expression of Islamophobia. The grand mufti of Egypt calls it an “insult” to Muslims around the world. More voices warn against violent reactions, noting that the Swiss government as well as Christian and Jewish groups are opposed to the ban.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – The Muslim world slammed the vote in Switzerland in favour a ban on minarets on Swiss soil (pictured: protest demonstration). For Muslims, the result is case of Islamophobia. However, some voiced urge moderation, especially since the Swiss government, the country’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference and groups like Amnesty International have come out against the ban.
“The most painful for us is not the minaret ban, but the symbol sent by this vote. Muslims do not feel accepted as a religious community," said Farhad Afshar, who heads the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland.
Elsewhere in the Muslim world, reactions are even stronger. For the grand mufti of Egypt, the result is an “insult” to Muslims around the world. “This proposal [. . .] is not considered just an attack on freedom of beliefs, but also an attempt to insult the feelings of the Muslim community in and outside Switzerland,” Gomaa said.
Still, many have called for calm. Maskuri Abdillah, the head of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim group, spoke about “hatred” and “intolerance”. The vote for him is a sign of the “hatred of Swiss people against Muslim communities. They don't want to see a Muslim presence in their country and this intense dislike has made them intolerant." Still, he urged Muslims in his country “to show them tolerance and freedom of religion”.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, said he was confident that “the people of Switzerland will reach the best consensus and will take the best decision,” and overturn the ban.
At the level of media, we find a variety of responses. Al Jazeera spoke of a “shocking result”. Quoting an analyst, the satellite TV said, “It was because people are worried about the growth of Islam in Europe.”
For the Tehran Times, it is a case of rising “Islamophobia in Europe and violation of religious freedom and convention commitments.
An Iranian TV channel said that everyone condemned the Swiss Islamophobic vote, noting that the Swiss government slammed the ban.
Similarly, Lebanon’s Nahar newspaper as well as Hizbollah’s al Manar TV channel noted that Christians also expressed dismay over the outcome, stressing that it was "inadmissible that the religious minority” is now “to subject to unequal treatment.” The Kuwait Times agrees.
Nahar also reported that religious groups, including Christians, Jews and Muslims, have come out in a rare show of unity against the right-wing proposal. (PD)
03/12/2009 TURKEY – ISLAM
Switzerland may have acted badly, but is the Church truly free in Turkey, Turkish journalist asks
Turkish leaders react to Swiss referendum that bans minarets. Muslims are asked to withdraw their money from Switzerland. But some wonder whether the Turkish government should look into its own “nasty little secrets” to see the denied permits to build or restore churches and the promises made but never kept with regards to Saint Paul’s Church in Tarsus and the Orthodox theological school in Halki.
27/11/2009 ISLAM - EUROPE
Fr. Samir: In Switzerland, yes minarets, no to the muezzin
The referendum on whether to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland is an opportunity to rethink the use of these architectural elements. Their use to call people to prayer; or the race to make them ever higher, competing with churches, is excluded. Europe must learn to live with Islam, but Islam also has to rethink its life in Europe as a minority.
21/04/2009 TIBET – UNITED NATIONS
Durban II: pro-Tibet groups discriminated
China objects to the participation of pro-Tibet human rights groups. The Conference’s accreditation committee postpones a decision, de facto excluding them. Tibetan leader in exile slams Chinese racism and China’s anti-Tibetan cultural genocide.
17/01/2017 17:14:00 SWITZERLAND – CHINA
Xi Jinping’ s first time in Davos
In the opening address of the World Economic Forum, China’s president defended globalisation and the free market despite China’s own "protectionism" and yuan "manipulation". Police detain at least 32 people demonstrating for a Free Tibet.
04/12/2009 ISLAM - EUROPE
Fr. Samir: The refusal of the minarets, an opportunity to rethink Islam and Europe
Opinion polls in Europe show that the Swiss referendum would have also won in France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria. The no to the minaret is a no to the increasing (and never satisfied) Islamist demands. The European population thinks differently and wants its leaders to reaffirm its identity. The no to the minarets is an invitation to true dialogue.
Pope tells young people to remember the past, to have courage in the present and hope for the future
The Message for the 32nd World Youth Day was issued today centred on “The ‘great things’ that the Almighty accomplished’.” In her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary becomes a model. The pontiff calls on young people to avoid being couch potatoes, safe and cosy, urges them to rediscover the relationship with seniors. The Church experience is not a flash mob. The future should be experienced in a constructive way, and “the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission” should not be devalued.
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